5 Tips to Successfully Opening a Business During the Pandemic

These are difficult times for any business owner, and food and beverage entrepreneurs are some of those greatly affected by the ongoing lockdowns. Several establishments, even those that have been existing for a long time, have been forced to close shop due to overwhelming losses and changing business climates.

This is the major roadblock that TE Manila Food Inc., the company behind Yaki Yaki—the first Yakisoba-Takoyaki-In-One-Serving concept in the Philippines—had to overcome when they opened their first store last May 10, 2021, in Calzada-Tipas, Taguig. Just four months after they launched their first branch, they opened another, and now they have a total of four stores in Taguig, Pasig, Paranaque, and Las Pinas. Considering the crisis the world is going through, this company must have done something right to ensure not just success, but growth as well in these challenging times.

Yaki Yaki Takoyaki FranchiseImages courtesy of Yaki Yaki PH

Here are some of the tips they shared on how to achieve success for your business:

1. Location, Location, Location

Choosing a business location is one of the most important aspects of starting a small business. Especially if you’re running a small retail or restaurant operation, finding the right location means everything. It can dictate foot traffic, business atmosphere and long-term success for your small business.

During this time, consumer purchasing has become very localized. People mostly choose to stay in their communities due to fear of Covid-19 infection or because it’s difficult to get around due to limited public transportation. The company’s vision is to put Yaki Yaki in densely populated communities where customers will easily notice it and have ease of purchase. Population demographics is also important to ensure that the target market is clustered in the desired location. Also, delivery services such as Food Panda will greatly help in marketing and increasing sales, so make sure that there are active households or even corporate offices in your location.

Yaki Yaki also considers what other businesses are close to their potential location. This is important because those businesses could attract customers that are in their target demographic. They make a balanced, conscious decision in considering their neighbors. The idea is to collaborate with other businesses to create a prosperous economic environment.

2. Prioritize Safety

The demand for food did not go away; it evolved. Customers now need to be assured of their safety and so they choose the business where there is less risk of catching the virus while at the same time still comfortable to buy from.

Yaki Yaki ensures that proper health protocols are implemented in their stores and hand sanitizers are always available for customers to use. Each store also has glass shields to avoid direct and close contact between staff and customers. Protecting customers is not enough. It is equally important to protect employees as well, not just for business continuity, but more than anything else, to minimize the risk of any serious health problems for any of their staff members while fulfilling their tasks. By September 2021, all service crew members of Yaki Yaki have been fully vaccinated. Safety is currently one of the primary drivers of consumer spending, and Yaki Yaki aims to fulfill this need.

3. Strong Social Media Presence

When Yaki Yaki started, their focus was how to get their first group of customers through the door. With lockdowns happening, they knew that their target customers could be found online, and social media was the most efficient way to get the message to them. Yaki Yaki then invited bloggers and vloggers to feature their brand on their channels. This helped increase brand awareness to a wider market base. The brand’s daily transaction count also improved significantly. Yaki Yaki was also featured in GMA’s Unang Hirit and was also posted on the show’s Facebook page.

The good thing about social media marketing is that it’s both cost-effective and measurable. It is easy to know which campaigns work and which do not. Yaki Yaki knew that strong social media presence also legitimizes their business in the eyes of many customers, especially the ones who order through delivery apps.

Yaki Yaki also takes advantage of social media platforms to process online orders and answer customer inquiries which may also lead to sales conversion.

4. Value-Based Pricing

With a market that’s currently budget-conscious, Yaki Yaki put much thought into setting their prices. They understand the value of their product and how much a customer would be willing to pay for it. With the target customers being class C and D, they set their price points to be very affordable while still ensuring high quality and authentic-tasting products. The company implemented value-based pricing and this clicked. For as low as Php 45, customers will be able to enjoy 4-piece Takoyaki with real octopus bits. The best-seller, Yakisoba and Takoyaki combined in one serving costs as low as Php 89. With this pricing strategy, the customers mostly say that they believe they are getting more than what they paid for. Increased loyalty was observed with repeat customers buying from them almost three to five times per week.

5. Ensure Efficient Operations

For Yaki Yaki to maximize profitability, the company worked on making sure that their systems are efficient. Yaki Yaki uses an automated inventory management system to know exactly how many ingredients are used versus expected consumption based on sales. This also allows the company to be able to know the proper inventory levels which results in less waste and better management of perishables.

They also use an automated point-of-sale system to properly record sales transactions and provide data on best sellers and slow-moving products. Due to automated systems, the store employees can focus on improving product preparation and customer service and worry less about the data and reporting side of operations. On the other hand, store managers and franchisees are also able to better manage operations and minimize losses. With a wide range of data available through their automated systems, they are also able to make intelligent business decisions to mitigate operational issues.

More importantly, Yaki Yaki clicked and captured the Filipino taste because of their mission: Serving balls of happiness. From product quality to safety and ease of purchase, to outstanding customer service, customers leave their stores with a smile on their faces and looking forward to their next visit.

Yaki Yaki StoreImage courtesy of Yaki Yaki PH

We are living in extraordinary times and it takes extraordinary tenacity and business acumen to overcome the struggles brought about by the pandemic. Many people ask if it is still a good time to do business. For Yaki Yaki and TE Manila Food Inc, it’s always a good time to do business because there are always opportunities to take and market demands to solve. This is a fact, with or without a pandemic.

Their goal is to grow the brand and put Yaki Yaki in every community. If you are looking for an amazing business opportunity even during this time of the pandemic, you may contact them through franchise.yakiyaki@gmail.com or through 0956 779 1150. Visit them on Instagram at @YakiYakiPH.